The conveyancing industry has been going through a digital transformation in the last few years to streamline the process and make it more consumer friendly.
But until recently there were still barriers to an end to end electronic conveyancing experience in New South Wales and Queensland.
NSW Electronic signature laws
Proposed laws that update the Conveyancing Act and Property Law Act have been passed in NSW Parliament and will soon become law.
Although electronic transaction laws have been around since 2000, these new laws wills clarify that contracts and conveyancing documents like deeds in NSW can be signed and witnessed electronically.
Lawlab has been an industry leader in the transition to electronic contracts and these new laws will hopefully encourage other property lawyers and conveyancers to do the same. This will make the conveyancing process and in particular the exchange of contracts process much quicker in NSW, which is traditionally the state where it takes the longest to exchange contracts.
The new laws also make it clear that notices can be sent by email, meaning that there will be less reliance on the use of outdated fax machines.
We also expect that the NSW Land Registry will updates their forms and rules to allow lodgement of more documents signed electronically.
Queensland First Home Owner Grant
The Queensland Office of State Revenue has now confirmed applications for First Home Owner Grants (FHOG) will not be rejected on the basis that the contracts were signed electronically. This is good news and means first home buyers can sign contracts much quicker and easier.
The most recent versions of the standard forms of contracts in Queensland have been updated to acknowledge they can be signed electronically and without a witness.
Although there is still more work to do to make the process completely electronic as the actual application for the FHOG still needs to be signed and witnessed on paper.